Site Speed as a Ranking Signal | Lesson 6/31 | SEMrush Academy

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0:05 Why is site speed important?
1:02 Analyze your page load speed
1:46 Fix problems with page load speed

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Site speed is incredibly important – no one wants to browse a slow-loading site. In fact, recent data shows that 50% of users expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds. Research also shows that for every additional second of page load speed, you conversions can drop by up to 20%.

Speed is also important for SEO. Site speed is a small ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Plus, if your pages load faster, it’s more likely that users will visit more pages, and be more likely to link to your content. Finally, if you’ve got a massive site, Google’s spiders will be able to crawl more pages in the allotted time available for crawling your site.

There are three important factors you’ll need to keep an eye on for page speed. You need to pay attention to “time to first byte”, or how long it takes the server to respond to the first request for information.

Next, you’ll want to look at the total download time for the page, or how long it takes to fully download all of the page elements. Finally, you’ll need to look at the full render time – how long it takes to download everything needed for the page and render it to visual completion.

We suggest using – you can run a test that analyzes your page load speed, with the results displayed in an easy-to-read waterfall graphic. If you’re testing your site against competitors, you can run multiple sites at once to see how they compare – and you can even record a video showing what users see as each site loads.

If you’ve got problems with page load speed, you’ll need to determine what’s causing the slow speed. If you’ve got a slow response time or static assets are downloading slowly, you’ll need to look at improving your caching or using a content delivery network.

If dynamic pages are loading slowly, take a look at the site code. If you have a problem with your visual render speed, take a look at the external resources. Many times, third party plugins or resources can drastically slow down your site.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights ( can be a helpful tool as well. While it doesn’t grade the actual load speed like, it analyzes your site for best practices and offers suggestions for site speed improvement.

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